CAMROSE, Alta. – The Vernon Vipers and Pembroke Lumber Kings will meet for the 2011 RBC Cup, Canada’s 41st National Junior A Championship, after posting semifinal wins on Saturday at the Edgeworth Centre. The Vipers defeated the Wellington Dukes 4-1 while the Lumber Kings topped the host Camrose Kodiaks 4-2.
Sunday’s championship game begins at 6 p.m. MT/8 p.m. ET and can be seen on TSN at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. Check your local listings for broadcast times in your area.
With a win Sunday, the Vipers would become the first team in National Junior A Championship history to win three consecutive national titles, while also increasing their all-time record with their seventh championship overall. The Lumber Kings are looking for their first national championship, and would become the first East Region champions to win the RBC Cup since the tournament went to its current five-team format in 1990.
In Saturday’s early semifinal, Bryce Kakoske scored twice to lead the Vipers offence as it became the first team to advance to three straight championship games since the start of the current format. The Prince Albert Raiders appeared in the final in 19, when the national champion was crowned in a best-of-seven series between East and West champions, and in 1979, a three-team tournament. Kakoske opened the scoring with 8.6 seconds left in the first period and made it 2-0 just 3:25 into the second period, advancing the Vipers to the championship game for the seventh time in nine appearances – they are 6-0 in national title games. Patrick McGillis and David Robinson also scored for Vernon.
In the late game, Brandon Gagne tipped in a Stefan Salituro shot with 5:47 to go, sending the Lumber Kings to the championship game for the first time – they appeared in the final in 19 in the East vs. West format, but lost in the semifinals in 1987, 19. Matthew Peca, Maurice Alvarez and Mitchell Gallant also scored for Pembroke, which held a 2-0 lead late in the second period before Rylan Wiest scored a pair of goals for Camrose to tie the game.
The teams met Thursday in the final game of the preliminary round – Pembroke scored three times in 2:36 early in the second period to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead, but the Vipers took the lead before the end of the middle frame and claimed a 5-3 victory, wrapping up a perfect preliminary round.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Francis Dupont, Hockey Canada’s manager of media relations and communications, will be on site at the 2011 RBC Cup and will be the media contact for interviews, information or photos. He can be reached at 587-999-5681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.